Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Thrash Under Pressure

Exodus was my next step into the heavier side of Metal. I can thank my Stepbro for introducing me to this Album. However, he doesn't know that he introduced me to this album. Still in my highschool years, I would sneak into said Stepbro's room and borrow his metal tapes, make a copy for myself and then put back. I don't know why I never just asked, but ah well(I was always careful with them). If your reading this Stepbro, Thanks! This is one heck of a Thrash album.

Exodus is one of the Bay Area thrash bands from the early '80's and helped define American Thrash. This is not their first album, but the first one featuring new singer Steve Sousa. And this is the first Exodus album I would own .... a copy of ... I had to buy the blank cassette .... Anywho, this album is great! Fast and Heavy. The lyrics can be a little cheesy, but Steve's "pissed off chipmunk" vocals pull them off nicely. Steve's singing is very distinct, though I've heard other metal vocalists who are similar (copycats ???) but you can't help but recognize the intricate thrash riffing by Gary Holt. You can't mistake that guitar work anywhere. Gary is one of the main songwriters and is also the only original member of Exodus left, which is why they have kept a very recognizable sound. This I would say is my 2nd favourite album of theirs (The 1st being Impact Is Imminent reviewed at a later date) with stand out tracks as the galloping "Parasite" the guitar pounding "Deranged" and "Choose Your Weapon" and the evil sounding "Til Death Do Us Part". Despite the corny lyrics of "Chemi-Kill" I just love this song, some great riffin'. My favourite track would have to be "Brain Dead". This mid-paced thrasher is a heavy, dark brainmashing tune! And one wicked riff too! Though Exodus have not been as successful as say Metallica or Megadeth, they have chiseled a decent career with some very stylish thrash. "Cause when the chips are down, you'll never see them frown, you'll only see Thrash Under Pressure!"

In my next post I'll be featuring Dead Can Dance, the last band to have a large influence on my future metal path. I can thank Stastyboy for this gem too!

(Note: Other bands borrowed from Stepbro, "Death Angel", "Voivod", "Dayglo Abortions", and some others, I think I've forgotten. Some will be reviewed later. Oh and Thanx Again!)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Controlled by Hatred, Feel Like S.T.

So I should just tell you, I don't own any albums by the Canadian band Slaughter. I don't think anybody does, but that's not what this post will be about. Nope. However, I thought it was time to explore the album that opened my ears to a whole new world of music. Don't get me wrong, hair bands still hold a special place in my *NEW* ipod, but Suicidal Tendencies .... I can Thank Statsy boy for introducing me. The first song I heard? "Feel like S**t ... Deja Vu" and what a tune! This was S.T. during their Heavy Metal Thrash phase. The album is made up of 2 EP's "Controlled by Hatred/Feel Like S**t ... Deja Vu" and features 2 more versions of "How can I laugh Tomorrow, when I can't even smile Today" a thrashy version and Heavy emotion version. The thrashy is great cause of the dual guitar work of Rocky George and Mike Clark, but the lyrical poeticness of the song really shines in the heavy emotion version and
Cyco Miko's vocals just scream with frustration with a mix of hope and cries of desperation. This, I'd say is my favourite Suicidal Tendencies simply for the great mix of heavy Thrash and creepy/haunting guitar work exemplified on the songs "It's Not Easy" and "Wake The Dead". "Master Of No Mercy" and "Just another Love Song" are fast thrashy tunes that get the blood flowing. This whole album mixes well with Mike Muir's distinct vocals. He has a way of conveying inner turmoil through his singing that I have not heard done by anybody else. Being the only consistent member of S.T. he's helped create a vocal styling that could not be replaced, without Cyco Miko S.T. would have to retire. Suicidal Tendencies may sound like they'd be a very depressing band, but they are actually quite inspiring with lyrics both painful and hopeful, strong, and intelligent. This band has helped me through some dark periods of my life. When I've felt angry, alone and down, they've been there to pick me up. They even have a spiritualness to some of their music that has helped strengthen my own spiritual beliefs. It may sound odd, but I'll explore that aspect of them with some of their other albums. Let's just say they do what they do, cause they f*****g want to....

As do Exodus, the Bay area thrash band I'll be featuring in my next post.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Slaughter! These guys must be Extreme ...... oh ...

With a cool name like Slaughter, one might think of some Grindcore Death metal band, but alas no. This Slaughter is a Hair Band from Las Vegas. But these guys were good (at least their first 2 albums. Well the second one was more commercial but still rocked, but the last 3 albums ... blegh !) The album "Stick it to ya" rocked. As I was saying in my last post, I first discovered Slaughter cause they were touring with Kiss on the "Hot in the Shade" tour. While watching Power Hour on Much Music I remember seeing the video for "Up all Night" and some interviews with Mark Slaughter (hence the name Slaughter)and the band and how they were going on tour with Kiss. I loved the song and it was a pretty hot video. For a teenage boy who was getting bored with the Sears Catalogue, this cover was great! Their live album even features a midget! But seriously this was a great album and I eventually repurchased it on CD a couple of years ago. This, I believe to be a step up for Mark Slaughter and Dana Strum who prior to forming Slaughter were members of Vinnie Vincents Invasion.
(Vinnie Vincent is a former guitarist for Kiss) Slaughter is sometimes labelled as Glam rock, but these guys are more hair band. The 2 boys from Vinnie's left the Glam behind. Mark and Dana were joined by Tim Kelly and Blas Elias and were a pretty solid band. Tim Kelly was killed in car accident in 1998. And no I'm not trying to start a trend here with young dead musicians.

This album has some great tunes. "Up all night" is your punch in the gut Rock Anthem. You have the quirky "She wants More" and sex themed "Loaded Gun" both fun songs. "Eye to Eye" and "Burnin' Bridges" are stylish and catchy. Marks wailing screech is both typical yet uniquely Slaughter. I can pick him out anywhere (like as a guest vocalist on Chrissy Steeles album: reviewed at a later date). His vocals really shine as well as the guitar work on "Fly to the Angels" which is my favourite song. What I like here is the lack of hair band cheesiness. This album is great, unfortunately I think it was their peak. "The Wild Life" album is good, but too commercial. After that one I just gave up on Slaughter. I tried listening and even owned at one point "Revolution" and "Fear No Evil" but I ended up disappointed and sold them at a loss. I'll be reviewing "The Wild Life" at a later point. I still feel quite strongly about this album, and it was the first band I discovered on my own.

Still it's no Slaughter

Thursday, March 23, 2006

You Want the Best! You Got Dan ...

Yes I am a Kiss fan, but no, I am not part of the Kiss Army (though that is why I live in Canada, draft dodging.... cough,cough...) They were my favourite band for a number of years up until early high school. "Hot in the Shade" is the album that got me hooked on Kiss. Mind you, I only owned a few of their albums which is shameful for a Kiss fan, but I was young and jobless, and by the time I got a job and money, I had out grown my Kiss phase. You don't have to be a fan to appreciate the influence Kiss has had on rock n roll and I learned a lot about them in the few years they ruled my cassette player. I don't need to go on much about the band -I'll be reviewing other albums at a later date (I've now increased my collection to a whopping total of ten).

But if you ever have the chance, see "Kiss meets the Phantom of the Park"! It is brilliant! A B-movie some would say (with a capital B!). I liked this album for one simple reason; Because "I" liked it. I heard some tracks, I liked them, I bought it. This is where I started to branch out on my own. This is by no means Kiss' best album, but it has some good songs (Even if "Forever" was partly written by Michael Bolton... sigh ...) I myself preferred the Gene Simmons songs, more for the darker, heavier feel like "Prisoner of Love" and "Betrayed" (for reasons you'll see as I progress through my CD collection) but I love the funky feel of "Read My Body" my favourite track. Kiss do not write a lot of inspirational music and though "Hide your Heart" got lots O radio play it was a little cheesy (especially the video, kind of West side story-ish). And I found they never broke a lot of ground musically. Sex, money, fame and Rock 'n' Roll! But they do that VERY well. "Love's a Slap in the Face" is another classic tune and lyrically amusing as well as the albums last song "Boomerang" which is a blistering guitar assault and a great closer.

This is not my favourite Kiss album, but it represents the time when I began discovering what I liked musically, independent of outside influences. This album to me is where I began my journey down a long musically unique road, and one I now tread alone. Oh, there are also people who introduced new music to me which would turn me down musical roads I may never have discovered, and I'll be writing about those shortly.

However, it was while watching Kiss interviews and footage of the "Hot in the Shade" tour that I discovered Slaughter.... but that has to wait till my next post ...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Look What the Cat couldn't bring itself to purchase from a Store

Well I thought I'd get started with the album that influenced the route my music taste would take. I was 11 or 12 years old (I can't remember)and sitting around with some friends who were a little older, one owned this tape and while his parents were out we'd crank this up and goof around. At the time I thought this was great (despite the gender bending cover)I mean I listened to Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" but this album had a swears in it! Of course I was young back then and things have changed. I still love this album, but I just couldn't bring myself to purchase it new or used. I just couldn't carry it to a counter and pay for it... I couldn't! My music taste has branched to Thrash/Speed metal and extreme metal so for me I was slighty ashamed. Can you blame me? Look at the band AND the cover! And in my opinion Poison wussed out in future albums. "Look What The Cat Dragged In" is the only one I own(digitally....Thank goodness for itunes!) They had a couple of decent tunes later on but nothing I cared about.

So besides the sentimentality of it, this album rocks. With classic tunes like "I Want Action" "Talk Dirty to me" and "Let Me Go To The Show" (the swears song!) Great riffs and wailing solos! C.C. DeVille was fantastic on guitar. There are a few forgettable songs such as "Play Dirty & #1 Bad Boy" not bad tunes just filler. I still think the title track is one heavy tune. Mid-paced and sludgy... kind of like someone who's woken up after a night of debauchery. This is an album of catchy fun songs, but I'd like to make special mention of "I Won't Forget You" which to this day is one of my favourite songs! And I'll proudly admit it. It's an inspiring ballad that sings of broken relationships, but cherishes the time shared together. No bitterness or anger or hurt, no please forgive me-ness or you've done me wrongs, just sorry it didn't work out, but I won't forget you. Just brilliant (Tesla is another band that wrote great love songs, but that's another entry). And the music. The solos, the picking and that intro...who wouldn't know that solo. Overall this not an album I listen to a lot, but will always be one that I'm embarrassed to own.

Up next will be KISS's "Hot in the Shade" ....

Monday, March 20, 2006

Here I go again on my own...

So, hello there. Well, to get started, I should explain the purpose of my blog. With this space, I plan to review and promote my vast CD collection (Note: I do not own any White Snake- the title of this entry might have given you the impression that I did ).

This is my first attempt at blogging and I thought - what better way to start then speaking about my 600+ (and rapidly growing) CD collection. In case you're thinking of breaking in to steal them, let me warn you - you probably won't find much of market for them, except maybe Paramaecium - they're really hot these days. Honestly. And oddly enough, there's not a really large market for Norwegian Christian Black Metal. I can't figure out why. In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a metalhead. But I do own the odd rock/alternative/punk album, oh, a copy of Jingle Cats (I like to branch out). But *NO* RAP!

I would like to make special mention of the BNR metal and "No Life Til Metal" Web sites. They have have wonderful reviews and a wide variety of metal selections, and have inspired me to create my own blog and model it after them. I don't expect many people to know or care for my musical preferences, but you may find the odd selection that you can introduce into conversations when you can't think of anything else whatsoever to talk about. For example - a nice heavy metal Lord of the Rings concept album. Who wouldn't want to discuss that?! I can tell you of at least 10..well, maybe 5..well, 1 person for sure who'd want to! With luck, I hope to bring this blog to "water cooler topic" level, but let's start small.

Stay tuned! Until my first review, feel free to check out and

Psychotic Philosopher. What a cool name for a band.